LIVING RIGHT NOW TO AVERT GLOOM AT LAST

READINGS: Psalm 146; Hebrew 9:24-28; John 10:7-18; Amos 5:10-24. In today’s world, any concept about the coming wrath of God upsets our modern sentiments. It’s too disconcerting, too intolerant. We now live in a time where we have set ourselves as the judge and God’s character is on trial. “How can hell be just?” “Why would God command the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites?” “Why does God always seem so angry?”

God's anger with sin stems from the fact that He is absolutely holy (Exodus 15:11, Isaiah 57:15). Both the Hebrew and Greek words for holiness (qedosh and hagiazo) mean "to be set apart," "separateness," or "otherness." The God of the universe is the holy God (Psalm 22:3). The Bible speaks of all three persons of the Godhead specifically as holy (John 17:11, Hebrews 7:26-27, Romans 1:4). God in His infinite perfection is set apart from His entire created order (2 Samuel 22:31, Matthew 5:48).

Thus, fellowship with the holy God demands holiness on the part of those who would approach Him. God says repeatedly, "Be holy, for I am holy" (e.g., Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7; Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15-16). God's holiness is absolutely inviolable; He cannot for one moment condone sin or have any relationship with it (Psalm 11:4-6, Habakkuk 1:13). Sin is the violation of God's law, which is the standard of holiness by which men may approach Him.

In Amos 5:14-15, we see the true picture of this present generation. The picture of Arrogant self-confidence. The people were boasting, "The Lord God is with us!" After all, wasn't the nation enjoying great prosperity? Certainly that was a sign of God's blessing. And weren't the people active in religious activities, bringing their sacrifices and offerings to the shrines? And didn't the king have a special priest and a royal sanctuary in Bethel (7:10-17), where he consulted with Amaziah about the affairs of the kingdom?

Yes, these things were true, but they could not be used as evidence of the blessing of God. They were but a thin veneer of religious self-righteousness over the rotting corpse of the nation. The only proof that God is with us is that we love Him and do His will. Religion without righteousness and justice in the land is hypocrisy. No doubt, Nigeria is full of Churches and worshippers but no matter how many people attend religious meetings, if the result is not obedience to God and concern for our neighbor, the meetings are a failure.

For instance, how can we claim to love the good if we don't hate the evil? We claim to love the Lord, but not God commands. "You who love the Lord, hate evil!" (Ps 97:10 NKJV) We enjoy studying the Bible, but the psalmist said, "Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way" (119:104 NKJV). Seeking the good means rejecting the evil and not being ashamed to take our stand against what's wrong.

Is there any hope for such a wicked society? Yes, as long as the grace of God is at work. "It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph" (Amos 5:15 NKJV). Disaster was coming to Israel, but who knows what God would do if only a godly remnant turned to Him and sought His mercy?

"So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one" (Ezek 22:30 NKJV).

God is still seeking for wall-builders, for intercessors who will plead with God to send revival and renewal to His church. For it's only when God's Spirit is allowed to work among His people that the flood of evil can be stopped and righteousness and justice flourish in the land. The saints want God to judge the wicked, but "the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God" (1 Peter 4:17).

If only a remnant will repent and turn to God, there is hope that He will send the revival that we desperately need.

"Hear God's Word!" Are we listening? "Seek the Lord!" Are we praying?

"Seek the good!" Do we hate that which is evil?

There is no other way.

"And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

Being godly means living a life that pleases God—acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with him. The key is the walking part. It's only when we walk with God in a relationship with him that we're able to do what's right and love others. As we spend time getting to know him, He changes us. The change comes as we see how awesome God is and how we, with all our imperfections, pale in comparison. It comes as we learn that God became a man—Jesus Christ—just so He could die a painful death to save us from our sin. And what is our response? Amazement? Gratitude? Yes, but it has to be more than that. God wants us to be totally devoted to him in order to avert the wrath coming upon the wicked at last.

Beloved in God, the wrath of God remains, and will eternally remain, upon those who persist in unbelief and wickedness (John 3:36, Ephesians 5:6, Colossians 3:6, Revelation 20:11-15, 21:8). But those who place their faith in Christ alone, apart from works (Romans 3:28), are "justified by His blood...saved from wrath through Him" (Romans 5:9). If you have never placed your faith and trust fully in the Lord Jesus Christ as your only Savior from the wrath of God, now is the best time. Surrender your life to Jesus today and obey His words, then you can be rest assured of His eternal salvation.